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The Pit Boss P Setting-Full Explanation with Settings Chart

pit boss p setting

The Pit Boss P Setting Explained in plain English, What it means, What it Does, and How to Use it. Contrary to what another website states, the P setting is NOT a way to manually control temperature, the P Setting stands for “pause setting” and is a way to manually adjust the grill’s controller and pauses between pellet feed cycles; thus affecting how the grill’s burn rate and how quickly it gets to temperature, maintains temperature, and also smoke.

Below I dive into more details on how these feature works, when should you use it, and how it affects the grill’s performance.

What is P setting on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill?

p setting button picture

The P SET or P Setting on a Pit Boss is a feature that allows you to fine-tune the grill’s temperature by controlling pellet feeding cycles. The P Setting is a pause button that adds a gap in seconds between pellet feeding cycles. This feature is helpful when cooking in cold weather, highly humid environments, windy conditions, using poor quality pellets, or when using the grill in the “smoking” setting.

In other words, the P Setting or P Set in your Pit Boss is a manual way to change the auger feeding cycles frequency and accelerate or slow the pellet feeding to the firebox to neutralize external conditions affecting the operation of the grill’s firebox.

In a Pit Boss Pellet grill, the P Setting or P Set can be compared to the fuel adjustment needles in a carburetor. You can make the feeding of pellets more frequent or less frequent by adjusting.

PSet on Pit Boss – Understanding and Using THE “P” SETTING

The P Setting is a button that gives you more precise control of the grill temperature and the firebox. Elements like lower temperatures climate, humid clients, and wind can work against your grill, and using the P Setting, you can increase the frequency the auger cycles and feeds pellets to the grill.

To use the P Setting or P Set in Pit Boss Grills, you can push the P Set button with a tipped object such as a toothpick, a pen tip, or screwdrivers. My recommendation is to use a ballpoint pen and not something sharp. Do not push the button too hard as you can crack the plastic and damage the button.

How does the P Setting works

The P SET or P Setting is a manual override system that can change the auger system’s frequency to fine-tune the heat output set using the temperature dial.

The P Setting can also be used in Smoke Mode to add more or less smoke. The smoke function in your Pit Boss is set from the factory to P4, but you can use the P Set to increase the grill’s temperature in windy conditions or cold climates.

For example, let’s say that you set the grill to its lowest setting to smoke a pork butt, but it is 30 degrees outside, and a bit windy, and the grill is fighting a bit of heat loss. Instead of increasing the grill’s temperature using the temperature dial and ruin the meat, you lower the P Setting to P3, which turn the auger on for 18 seconds and off for only 100 seconds as versus to P4, which turns the auger on for 18 seconds but off for a longer 155 seconds.

In short, the lower the P Set setting, the more frequent or less pauses are between auger cycles, and the higher the P Set setting, i.e., 5, 6 0r 8, the less frequent and more prolonged pause there is between auger pellet feeding cycles.

Here is a graph of all the P setting Modes:

P SET Setting Auger is On ( Cycle ) Auger is Off ( Cycle )
P0 18 seconds 55 seconds
P1 18 seconds 70 seconds
P2 18 seconds 85 seconds
P3 18 seconds 100 seconds
P4 18 seconds 115 seconds
P5 18 seconds 130 seconds
P6 18 seconds 140 seconds
P7 18 seconds 150 seconds
Pit Boss P Setting Chart


You can use a Pit Boos Pellet grill to smoke meats, and the grill has preset settings for low cooking temperature and smoke output for smoking food. The Smoke setting is also the cycling mode for starting the grill.

Pit Boss owners can safely start their grills and smokers using the smoke made, which will provide the correct settings and the required temperature to get the firepot going.

The smoke mode in Pit Boss pellet grills sets the auger system into a manual mode and a P Set factory default setting of four. The P4 setting sets the auger pellet cycles to 18 seconds on and 115 seconds off.

Using the P Setting in Smoke Mode to Get MORE SMOKE FLAVOR, LESS HEAT

If you want more smoke flavor, the meats need to be exposed to smoke for longer times. This means additional smoke while keeping the temperature low to not overcook the meat.

You can achieve this by setting the grill to smoke mode but increase the P setting to a higher setting where each pellet cycle will have a longer gap keeping the temperature low, the grill on, and exposing the meat to more smoke. If the grill drops temperature quickly, then adjust the P Setting to a higher setting.

Basically, you are adding time between each pellet feeding cycle, keeping the temperature low requiring the meat to sit in your grill longer, thus absorbing more smoke.

If you notice temperature swings, your smoker P Setting is too high.

Using the P Setting in Smoke Mode If you want less smoke but more heat

The Pit Boos P setting can be used to achieve different results, reducing the smoke and smoke flavor but increasing the heat.

So now we know that the P Setting is the auger pause setting between pellet feeding cycles. So if you set the P Set to a lower number, the auger tube will be engaged more often, feeding more pellets, increasing the temperature, and cooking faster.

The less time the meat in your smoker, the less smoke flavor it will have.


When using your Pit Boss to grill at higher temperatures, the P Setting still plays a role but is slightly different. When the temperature dial is set to a grilling temperature ( 200 to 400 degrees F ), The auger will feed pellets until the desired temperature is reached.

Once the preset temperature is reached, the Pit Boss is programmed to default to the P settings to keep the temperature you set. Here is when the P Set comes in. Let say you set the grill to 350 degrees. Once the grill reaches 350 degrees, it will start cycling pellets based on the P setting.

So if you have a P4 setting, the grill will feed for 18 seconds and pause for 115 seconds. When cooking using direct heat and constant fire is needed, a lower P setting will work better since your grill will feed pellets to the burn pot often. A continuous or more frequent pellet flow will help the grill keep its temperature.

On the contrary, when grilling at a higher temperature, a higher P Setting can cause temperature fluctuations as the grill waits longer to feed pellets and bring the temperature back up.

So if you want to use fewer pellets while grilling and do not mind the temperature drops, then a higher P Setting will work, but if you want a more consistent grilling temperature, then a lower setting will work better, although you will use more pellets.

How do I change the P setting in a Pit Boss grill?

Pit Boss models equipped with the P Set feature will have a button on the PID controller and will display the P setting on the LCD control board screen. This setting gives you complete control and can help control cooking time if everything is working correctly.

It is recommended that you slowly work your way through the settings since it takes time to master the setting, and you might not need to mess with the P Set in all your cooks.

To Adjust the P Setting, use a pen or non-sharp object and press the button until the desired P setting is displayed on the LCD screen.

Adjusting the P setting: How You Should Do it

Adjusting the Pit Boss P Setting in a Pit Boss grill is all about fine tunning temperature control, and it should be done in small increases or decreases to avoid temperature swings.

How You Should Adjust the Pit Boos P Settings?

So now you know that adjusting the P Setting changes the feeding of wood pellets. Therefore don’t make any drastic p setting changes. Adjust the P Setting one step at a time and wait 30 minutes before making another change.

Keep an eye on the burn pot and the grill’s temperature. If you notice an extreme drop in temperature, dial back your adjustments and try different settings until the temperature stays as steady as possible.

In short, don’t make too many changes simultaneously, as you can create an auger jam or just make the grill go on significant temperature swings.

Risks with a high P-Setting

Be careful setting the P setting too high. Your Pit Boss might start dropping temperature or turning off when it is in the smoke setting.

Real Examples of Using The P Setting: What will a lower P setting do?

Using the smoke setting and a lower P setting, the grill will feed pellets more often, cooking faster and exposing the meat to less smoke at higher temperatures.

Let’s say you want to smoke a rack of ribs but do not want a think smoke ring and too much flavor. You can set the grill in smoke mode and lower the P setting to feed pellets more often, cooking at a higher temperature and exposing the meat to smoke for less time.

Another example, let’s say you are grilling a nice steak, but the fat in the steak keeps cause flare ups, and the grill temperature keeps increasing. You can increase the P Setting to a higher setting, lowering the temperature and slowing the fire as the grill will feeds pellets slower.

When should I use the P Setting Button?

You should use the P Setting whenever you notice big temperature fluctuations or when cooking in cold or windy days. For example, in a very cold day your grill might struggle to keep temperature or reach high temperatures; this is when the P Setting can help you.

Pit Boss P Setting Chart

P SET Setting Auger is On ( Cycle ) Auger is Off ( Cycle )
P0 18 seconds 55 seconds
P1 18 seconds 70 seconds
P2 18 seconds 85 seconds
P3 18 seconds 100 seconds
P4 18 seconds 115 seconds
P5 18 seconds 130 seconds
P6 18 seconds 140 seconds
P7 18 seconds 150 seconds
Pit Boss P Setting Chart

P setting charts show how long augers are on/off during changes.

Some Trouble Shooting Tips

Keep the fan blades and the auger motor clean. The Fan needs to push enough airflow to help ignite the pellets in the fire pot.

Pit Boss Grills like good quality wood pellets, avoid poor quality or old pellets.

Make small adjustments to the chimney cap to control the grill’s temperature. Proper airflow is important for healthy fire and temperature control.

Store your pellets properly to avoid filling the grill’s hopper with humid or broken pellets.

A Little Information on Pellet Grills

Pellet grills work by transferring wood pellets from a pellet hopper into a burning pot. An auger mechanism feeds the pellets into the firebox, where they are burned to heat the grill to the desired temperature. As an added bonus, burning wood pellets produces the smokey “wood-fired” taste that we all love and enjoy.

Unlike gas grills where the fire burners are always on and burning propane, pellet grills work in a cyclical fashion. That is, the fuel, controller, and igniter operate in cycles to maintain the temperature inside the grill.

If the temperature begins to fall, the auger restarts so that the fire remains hot enough for cooking.

Minor temperature fluctuations are unavoidable due to this grill design. If your pellet grill appears to be experiencing more significant temperature changes, this might signal a system problem or simply that it needs some cleaning. 

Other temperature control suggestions and Tips

While the P setting is a vital feature on Pit Boss pellet grills, it is not the only way of achieving and managing temperature control. Here are a few more useful tips to help you control the temperature in your Pit Boss.

Purchase a grill blanket

I live in Florida, where some things are never said, like “we need a grill blanket” or “we need to winterize the boat.” Get it, is always hot here.

However, if you live in the north or anywhere where temperatures drop drastically, a grill blanket is a good way to thermally insulate your grill so it loses less heat and less cold penetrates into the cooking chamber.

Use high-quality pellets to cook

The only thing all wood pellets have in common is that they are all made out of wood. Other than that, every manufacturer is different. Even two bags of pellets from the same vendor will not be the same. Tree cuts are different, wood can come from different places, and the list keeps going. 

This is why it is important to buy good quality pellets from a reputable vendor to ensure you are feeding your grill good fuel. Cheap pellets burn poorly, and your grill will struggle to maintain a constant temperature.

Keep the door shut and stop peaking

If you constantly open and close the door of your pellet grill, it will lose heat. Be patient and resist the impulse to check the meat every 5 seconds. 

Remember that when the temperature drops below the set temperature, your grill will start feeding pellets, burning more fuel, and working harder to keep the temperature.

Keep the burn pot clean and clean out the ashes as much as possible

There will always be ashes in the burning cup because, well, you are burning wood. However, too much ash in the cup can shut off the fire and force the grill to overfeed pellets. In some cases, this can lead to the grill shutting off and displaying error codes.

Adjust the smoke exhaust cap

The adjustable exhaust cap is there for a reason. It helps with airflow, and adjusting the cap can help with airflow and temperature control.

Here is a lit of Pit Boss grills with the P mode/setting

There are several Pit Boss models that have the P setting option, but here is a list of the most commonly sold grills

Pit Boss Sportsman Series – Pit Boss Entry-level and portable models
Pit Boss Navigator Series
The Mahogany 440D Pit Boss
Pit Boss Austin XL Classic
Early Pit Boss models like the 700FB, 820FB, and 1000SC

How to contact Pit Boss Customer Service

You can contact Pit Boss Customer Service at 1-480-923-9630 

Pit Boss Warranty Information

Here is Pit Boss warranty information page:

One Last Word

Using the P Setting Button to change the pause time in your Pit Boss Grill or vertical smoker can help you tune your grill to cook more effectively and change the smoke amount it produces to add or reduce smoke flavor.



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